Saturday, December 19, 2015

Postcard: The original Christmas Tree Shops location

It's the last Saturday before Christmas, and you probably have some shopping to finish today. (Good luck with that.) In keeping with that theme, today's old postcard1 features the original Christmas Tree Shops location in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.2

The description on the back of this unused card states:

Corner of Willow St. and Route 6A
Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, Mass.
Cape Cod's Most Distinctive and Charming
Gift Shops.

A short history of Christmas Tree Shops goes something like this:

  • In the 1950s, a barn in Yarmouth Port doubled as a holiday gift shop called The Christmas Tree Gift Shop. It sold Christmas gifts and ornaments from May through October.
  • In the early 1970s, Chuck and Doreen Bilezikian bought the barn/store and began to transform the business into "a destination for one-of-a-kind items and real bargain prices." Three shops made up the first location: Front Shop, Back Shop, and Barn Shop. That's why the company name is Shops instead of Shop.
  • The Bilezikians began to expand the business to other New England (and then national) locations in the 1980s.
  • In 2003, Bed Bath & Beyond bought Christmas Tree Shops.
  • The original stores on Route 6A, pictured on this postcard, closed 2007, but the site is now occupied by independent stores called Just Picked Gifts and owned by the Bilezikians' son.3
  • Today, there are more than 70 Christmas Tree Shops stores.
  • You probably know somebody who shopped at one of them this week.

1. It's a "Natural Color K Card" from Kodachrome. Other credits on the back of the card include:
  • A Mike Roberts Color Production, Berkeley 2, Calif.
  • Published for Bromley & Company, Inc., Boston 16, Massachusetts
  • SA887
2. Yarmouth Port is located about two hours south of Innsmouth, if you want to make a full day (or long night) of it.
3. For more, see this December 2014 article on

Friday, December 18, 2015

1913 Christmas postcard from A.M. Davis Company of Boston

Here's an interesting vintage Christmas postcard that I believe might be making its debut on the Internet. It was published in 1913 by the A.M. Davis Company of Boston. It's printed on a thicker stock than most postcards. On the back of the card, there are poetic instructions for what to do on the two sides.

On the left side, it states:


On the right, it states:


On, L.F. Appel wrote a little about A.M. Davis cards and shared some other nice examples of their work. Appel writes: "The design style of the A.M. Davis cards also differs from other postcards. Most have an Arts and Crafts look dominated by text in Gothic or other distinctive typefaces and decorative borders. Most designs also have gold accents. Occasionally the cards have an embossed panel, but the pictures and text are not embossed. I like to look for these cards in boxes of unsorted cards. They are usually inexpensive, and I feel as though I am finding a diamond in the rough."

The A.M. Davis cards were also discussed in a 2014 post on the Vintage Recycling blog.

The postcard feature here was mailed in 1913 to Mr. W.K. Miller of the Prudential Insurance Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The note states: "With Kinds regards and a Merry Xmas to your family and self." And then there's a signature I can't quite decipher.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A 1910 postcard that was processed on Christmas Day

This vintage "Merry Christmas" postcard, with its warm and cheery colors, was postmarked at 9 p.m. on December 25, 1910, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which likely means that some Grinch of a boss made at least one postal employee work on Christmas night.1

Also, in addition to being Christmas, it was A SUNDAY.

I hope Krampus made a visit to that boss.

The postcard was mailed to Helen in Duboistown. The simple message states: "A Merry Xmas & Happy New Year. Your cousin, Frances K."

1. That year's Anti-Grinch was Texas Gov. Thomas M. Campbell, who, on Christmas Day, pardoned about 100 men, including 50 "friendless" prisoners who had been serving life terms. "Some have been in prison so long that their existence seems to have been forgotten," stated one account.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Vintage Christmas postcard:
"Kiss Me Quick!"

The vintage "Kiss Me Quick!" Raphael Tuck & Sons postcard was mailed in 1912 and was No. 507 in their Shadowgraph Series of Christmas postcards. It was printed in Saxony, Germany.

Raphael Tuck & Sons cards have been featured numerous times on Papergreat. I should probably put together an index of those posts some day. This December 2012 post discusses a bit about the London company's history, if you want to check out it out.

The back of the postcard indicates that it was postmarked at 9 p.m. on December 21, 1912, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.1

Mr. Charles Spuler of the Northern Central Trust Company (which was based in Philadelphia) was given the following message:

Where is the blanket?
"Cabin Party"

Sounds like Charles was going to have a cozy fun Christmas!

1. Also on December 21, 1912, according to Wikipedia:
  • Norway, Sweden and Denmark jointly proclaimed their neutrality, refusing to favor either side in a European war.
  • Prince Katsura Tarō was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Japan.
  • President Taft departed the United States on board the new battleship USS Arkansas for a visit to the Panama Canal.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Clambake at Cabbage Island (Maine): Then and now

This is an undated brochure for the famous Clambake at Cabbage Island in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Stamped on the front is "DAMARISCOTTA INFORMATION BUREAU U.S. No. 1 MAINE."

Damariscotta is a small town about 16 miles north of Boothbay Harbor.

With the help of the brochure and the Cabbage Island Clambakes website, here's a short history of the island and the clambakes:

  • Cabbage Island belonged to the Holbrook family during the second half of the 19th century. Cabbage, fertilized with kelp, was grown there. And there was a population of goats on the island.
  • The Holbrook family sold Cabbage Island to Dr. Frank J. Triggs in 1905 and it was renamed Independence Island.
  • From 1925 through 1948, there were several transfers of ownership of Independence Island.
  • In 1948, Donald and Ruth Leavitt purchased the island from Boothbay for $3,600. (About $35,000 in today's dollars. A bargain!)
  • In 1957, the Leavitts petitioned successfully to have the name changed back to Cabbage Island. That summer, they began operating twice-daily clambakes. Passenger boats Linekin I, Linekin II, and Linekin III brought customers to the island.
  • In 1983, Ruth Leavitt sold Cabbage Island to an Ohio company that operated clambakes for one summer. After that, there was no activity.
  • Wayne Moore purchased Cabbage Island in 1986 and, with the blessing and recipes of Ruth Leavitt, the Moore family has operated the Cabbage Island Clambakes since the summer of 1989.

I believe this brochure was published around 1965. There is reference to the Leavitts owning Cabbage Island for 17 years, and 1948 plus 17 years equals 1965. The tourists' attire has the mid 1960s look, too.

So, what was the Clambake at Cabbage Island like, circa 1965? First off, the cost will make you long for the past. Reservations were necessary, but clambake tickets were just $5.50, which included the $1 for the boat trip. And what did that $5.50 get you? To quote the brochure:
"A steaming cup of delicious New England Fish Chowder, luscious bright red lobsters, tender white steamed clams wrapped in foil, sweet golden corn on the cob, new Maine potatoes, onions baked in their skins. For dessert you will love our famous Blueberry Cake by the yard and gallons of coffee."
Or, if you preferred to head to the island for lunch, this was the menu:
"...boiled Maine lobsters and clams fresh from the sea, hot lobster stew, giant lobster rolls with clear meat, fried Maine shrimp, toasted hot dogs and hamburgers, French Fries, cold soda and beverages, Ma's homemade pies, Blueberry cake, at in town prices."
The clambakes were described as being "cooked in seaweed from top to bottom, covered with tarpaulins and rocks to capture all the flavor and sweetness of Maine lobsters and clams."

And what about the Cabbage Island Clambake today? As with everything, the prices have gone up. You'll now pay about $62, plus tax, per person. That gets you the boat ride on the Bennie Alice, too. The Moore family still cooks up the clambake the same way the Leavitt family did it, with seaweed, tarps and rocks. The menu sounds almost the exact same, too:
"This authentic meal includes a steaming cup of traditional New England Fish Chowder, two luscious bright red lobsters, tender white steamed clams wrapped in foil, sweet golden corn on the cob, onion, and new Maine potatoes. For dessert, you will love our famous Blueberry Cake with hot fresh coffee or iced tea."
The Cabbage Island Clambakes operate from mid-June through mid-September. Maybe you want to add them to your Summer of 2016 vacation list? Here's their Facebook page, too.

It couldn't hurt to ask, with a wink, if you could get the 1965 prices, for old time's sake. Here are some magnified blast-from-the-past photos from that brochure...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Papergreat's Holly Jolly Very Merry Directory of Christmas Posts

"SANTA'S MOTEL, Route 86, Lake Placid, N.Y., Telephone 644. Open All Year, Individual Heat Control. TV in all units. Private Baths. Private Beach. Walking Distance to Ski Tow. Owned and Operated by Claire and Ed Zampieri."

Before I start in with this year's batch of Christmas-themed ephemera, here's a directory of the 100-plus holiday posts that have appeared on this blog from 2010 to present. Bookmark it! Dive in on a night when you have some free time and a mug of hot chocolate by your side. There's more dandy old Yuletide ephemera here than you can shake a sleigh bell at.
(UPDATED: December 2, 2016)

Greeting cards Recipes Books and magazines Fashion and decorations Miscellaneous merriment

Vintage photo: Outdoor birthday party with doll

This undated black-and-white snapshot, acquired in southern York County earlier this year, measures 2¾ inches by 4½ inches. It features a young girl and her doll enjoying a cake with four candles in a well-maintained backyard.

The girl could certainly be four years old, so perhaps that's her cake for the special day. Also, that table and chair look too nice to be regular outdoor fixtures. I'm guessing they were just set outside for the special occasion.

It's too bad we'll never know the name of this girl and her doll...